There was something deep inside the hat, What could that something be?
Then cautiously each step he took, he climbed up on the brim to look,
And all at once the hat began to shake, and rock, look out!"
(The point of no return for poor Mark.)
Extremely similar to H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville featured a boy, Mark (Butch Patrick, of The Munsters fame), who falls into a stage magician's top-hat into the eponymous hat community. Having gained control of a ring-dwelling (non-hat) Genie (played by a gender-flipped Billie Hayes, who also played Witchiepoo on Pufnstuf), he is pursued by the magician's Lidsvillian evil counterpart, HooDoo, played by a pre-Match Game Charles Nelson Reilly not a hat himself, but living in a giant topper and flying around in a giant opera hat. Produced by Sid & Marty Krofft Productions back in 1971, with their trademark surrealism, the concept bears a suspicious resemblance to an earlier British stop motion cartoon called Hattytown Tales... though it was only two years earlier, and had none of the overarching plot (such as it is) of the classic Sid and Marty Krofft Productions "human lost in a strange land" story, and lacked any "human" characters. (If H.R. Pufnstuf was inspired by the MGM's version of The Wizard of Oz, then Lidsville was inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.)
Parodied on Mr. Show in the sketch "The Altered State of Druggachusetts."
Lidsville provides examples of:
- And You Were There: Charles Nelson Reilly who plays HooDoo, also appears in the opening credits playing Merlo, the magician whose hat Mark falls into.
- Comedic Underwear Exposure: In one episode HooDoo attacks the town with "Big Daddy Hoodoo," a Humongous Mecha version of himself (and an inflatable one at that!). After it's defeated, it turns out he'd been driving it while wearing nothing but his longjohns for some reason, and when this is revealed he's so embarrassed he runs away without zapping anybody.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The nurse is named Nursie.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Mark never did get home.note
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Invoked. Apparently, the network censors called up the Kroffts and told them that Mother Wheels can't ride a motorcycle without a helmet; producer Si Rose told them Mother Wheels is a helmet.
- Gone Horribly Right: "Have I Got a Girl for HooDoo", the Crossover episode in which Witchiepoo and HooDoo meet. Mark and the Hat People initially hope that if HooDoo successfully finds a love interest through the dating service, he'll cease his habit of randomly flying over Lidsville and "zapping" everything in sight to alleviate his boredom. Unfortunately, HooDoo and Witchiepoo take an instant dislike to each other for not being the sexy figures they'd portrayed themselves as in the mail. Double unfortunately, they end up finding a common ground and mutual attraction when they start "zapping" Mark and his friends when the Lidsvillians try and "help out" on the date. So Lidsville winds up with two Evil Sorcerers in residence, both of whom consider doing the magical equivalent of a fly-over bombing run on their town to be a romantic day's out. Luckily Status Quo Is God...
- Replaced with Replica: The Bad Hats conclude that they'll have better luck wooing the ladies if they have a Cool Car. This means posing as a cleaning crew to abscond with HooDoo's Hatamaran, leaving a similar folded hat in its place. It doesn't take the Card-Carrying Villain long to discover the switcheroo, and thereupon conduct zap practice on the Bad Hats.
- Short Runner: Like most Krofft shows, it had only 17 episodes, for financial reasons.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: HooDoo has his own band living with him who will burst into song at the drop of a hat. The musical group was, of course, named The Hat Band.
- Unfortunate Names:
- Weenie the Genie.
- Captain Hooknose? Really?
- Verbal Tic: Mother Wheels "Hon-EE!"